After giving birth to daughter Shai in July, Naomi Osaka explained what it's like to raise her daughter while returning to the tennis court.
“I don't think people know how hard pregnancy is; no one really talks about it as much," the 26-year-old told InStyle.
"Going into it, you kind of think, 'Oh, it's this beautiful journey,' but it's kind of rough," she added.
The athlete, who is dating Cordae, said it wasn't easy getting used to being a family-of-three. "There was a huge adjustment period. It was life-changing in a day. From the moment that you come back home from the hospital, everything's different," she recalled, adding that childbirth was "the worst pain of my life."
"I know that if I get through this, then everything else will feel very easy," she declared of the pivotal moment.
Osaka's tot had her umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck, but fortunately, she's thriving these days.
"She is so pure," the tennis star gushed. "Like every time she sees me, no matter what, she'll smile. And she's going in the phase now that she'll kind of reach out her arms a little bit."
Osaka and her man have also gotten into a routine with their little one.
"I don't know if it's because he's just an easygoing guy, but I think we just respect each other's opinions. And if we disagree on something, we talk it out," she said. "At the end of the day, we both want what's best for Shai."
Going forward, Osaka hopes to be the best leader for her daughter.
“I've stepped away from tennis before, but this time, it was the longest duration of my life. And I think it kind of gave me a perspective like, 'Hey, you're not going to play tennis forever. And you kind of have to cherish the years that you can play,'" she noted of the sport. "I do want to be a good role model for Shai, and I want her to see that this was an important chapter in my life."
"I’m fortunate to have the support to go back to work on my own terms, in my own time," she added. "So many American parents don’t have that choice, but we all deserve it. It has definitely motivated me to speak up about the lack of paid leave and to advocate for new moms in this country.”